By Shelby Collett
Three days before their graduation ceremony Rutland seniors Lily Duboff, Owen Massie and Elijah Jones spent the day canoeing to the base of Rogers Rock in Lake George, New York, and climbing the 3 pitch, 700-foot slab. They were led by their Year End Studies (YES) guide and Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center owner Steve Lulek.
These athletes have competed in Vermont’s rare indoor school climbing league since seventh grade. In 1999, the climbing league was started with just two schools, Green Mountain High School and Otter Valley. Supported by GMRCC’s two locations in Rutland and Quechee, it now includes elementary, middle and high schools and involves over 21 schools – in some it is even a varsity sport.
At the conclusion of the 2019 season, Duboff led the female division as the top scoring climber while Massie and Jones tied for top scoring male climbers. All three led RHS toward the state title for the third year in a row.
It was only natural that they would choose more time going vertical for their YES plan. Learning instructional guiding programs and outdoor climbing, they traveled to Romney in New Hampshire, Shelving Rock and Rogers Rock in New York, Killington and Mendon to gain more experience.
Duboff expressed her love for climbing and how it’s changed over the years for her, saying: “I’ve learned that it is much more than just a sport for me. Climbing has a wonderful community no matter where you go or what gym you climb at. When I climb, all I can think about is the movement and my breathing; in a way, it’s a meditation for me.”
All three plan on pursuing climbing in their futures, whether it be privately, on college teams or training outdoor projects.